Book review: The Darkest Dark by Astronaut Chris Hadfield

This post is guest written by Life’s Education Officer, Liz Ferguson, with the help of her two children.

Having met Chris Hadfield earlier this year on his visit to Life I was excited to find he has recently written a book for children. The Darkest Dark is a story about a little boy (Chris) who doesn’t like the dark and is afraid to go to bed.

Being afraid of the dark is something we have probably all felt at some point in our lives. Those spooky shadows made by a dressing gown on the floor can easily be mistaken for a monster! This book shows that’s even true for people who grow up to be astronauts. My children are 8 and 3, and are going through a phase of wanting a light left on at night, so I thought this book might be good to read with them.

As you can see they were very happy about it!

One of the things I love about picture books is reading the story told by the words and looking at the story told by the pictures – they often differ but combine to make something wonderful.

The illustrations by the Fan brothers are beautiful and switch between helping to set the scene for the story and sharing Chris’s fantasy of becoming an astronaut. The pictures illustrate the time leading up to the moon landings; there are newspaper headlines with pictures of the astronauts and a calendar on the wall counting down to the launch date.

It’s hard to imagine the excitement and suspense people must have felt during the space race but the book helped give me some idea of how inspiring it must have been!

We found time to sit down together and all enjoyed the book, it was a lovely story that was easy to read and kept the children’s attention.

My little girl loved that it was written by a real life astronaut and found the extra information at the back of the book about Chris really interesting. She was also surprised that he didn’t have a TV in the ’60s and had to go to someone else’s house to watch the moon landings – it led to an interesting discussion about how things have changed.

My son liked talking about what was going on in the pictures and loved spotting Chris’s dog in his little astronaut outfit too! He’s a big fan of giving thumbs up or down at the moment, depending on how much he likes things, and gave it two thumbs up!

I think I can safely say we all enjoyed it and will definitely be reading it again.. and again.. and again!

The Darkest Dark is available to buy in the Life Gift Shop, RRP £11.99.

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